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Three years after Hurricane Charley, Punta Gorda celebrates its comeback. Fisherman’s Village on the left and the new marina on the right. Photo by Steve Morrell

A Record Year: Two Category 5 Hurricanes Make Landfall


or the first time in history (which means “since mankind has been keeping records”), two Category 5 hurricanes made landfall in the same season. Another record set this year was that this was the first time that the first two hurricanes of a storm season reached Category 5 strength since records have been kept on tropical storms starting in 1861. Hurricane Dean made landfall on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico on August 21 as a Category 5 storm. Fourteen days later, Hurricane Felix, also a Category 5, made landfall in Nicaragua on September 4. It must be a year for records, as one more record was made on that day when Hurricane Henriette made landfall in Baja California, as that was the first time in recorded storm history that an Atlantic hurricane and a Pacific hurricane made landfall on the same day. Since hurricane records began in 1861, only 12 Category 5 storms have made landfall in the Atlantic basin (including Felix and Dean). Of those 12, three made landfall in the United States; the Labor Day hurricane that hit the Florida Keys in 1935, Hurricane Camille in Mississippi in 1969 and Hurricane Andrew in Miami-Dade County in 1992. Hurricane Felix again showed how quickly a storm can develop in the Atlantic basin. The storm went from a weak tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane in 42 hours—again setting another record—a record previously held by

Hurricane Wilma in 2005, which had similar development in a 48-hour period. As of September 11—the height of the Atlantic hurricane season—no Atlantic hurricanes had made landfall in the United States in the 2007 season (and Southwinds is hoping that none will have done so by the time this issue is read). By September 11, hurricane prognosticators had readjusted—downwards—their storm predictions for 2007.

Charlotte Harbor Area Celebrates Third Anniversary of Hurricane Charley, Aug. 13 It was on Friday the 13th, 2004, that Hurricane Charley came ashore in southwest Florida on Upper Captiva and then moved on to where it did its greatest damage; Port



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October 2007